Inspired by works from the NGV Collection, NGV curators and contributing scholars, research specialists and guests guide learners through an introductory study of Impressionism and its enduring legacy.


Week 1
A Time of Great Change
What were the social, political and cultural influences that led to the birth of Impressionism in France in the late nineteenth century? Learn about the key figures and philosophies behind the development of this dynamic movement, and the story of how it came to be so influential.
Week 2
En Plein Air – Impressionist Landscapes
Portable easels and collapsible paint tubes gave nineteenth century artists new freedom to leave the studio and paint outdoors. Impressionist artists ventured to various locations experimenting with ways to capture light and scenes of modern life. Discover how Impressionist paintings documented the changing landscape, mapped the artists’s travels, and formed a record of their ongoing experimentations with colour, composition and technique.
Week 3
What Was Old Becomes New – Still Life and Portraiture
Rejecting the polished formalism of traditional portraiture, Impressionist portraits captured unguarded moments of intimacy, informal scenes of domesticity and the bustle of contemporary life. Still Life also made a resurgence with the Impressionists painters, who delighted in capturing lively, colourful arrangements of everyday things. Learn about how these two genres of painting were re-invented during the Impressionist movement.
Week 4
Revisiting and Reinterpreting Impressionism
Since the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, Impressionism has gained universal popularity and its artists have become household names around the world. Exhibitions of Impressionism have steadily attracted new admirers and added fresh perspectives to the body of knowledge about the artists, their work and their environment. Who has been omitted from traditional art historical accounts of Impressionism, and how are writers and curators reconsidering the legacy of Impressionism through a contemporary lens?

Course objectives

  • Examine the social and historical factors that led to the birth of the Impressionist movement in France.
  • Describe the characteristics and objectives of the Impressionist movement.
  • Identify and discuss key Impressionist artists and their work.
  • Trace the influence and impact of French Impressionism.
  • Examine the legacy of Impressionism and how it is being re-interpreted in recent decades.

Enrolment options

Standard Course Enrolment

Includes 8-week access to learning materials from the course start date.


  • General: $69
  • NGV Members: $64

Course dates are yet to be announced. Please register your interest to keep up to date about future courses.


Claude Monet
Vétheuil, 1879
oil on canvas
60.0 × 81.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1937